Poor goaltending, dumb penalties sink Bruins in Montreal
By Mitch Melnick
TSN 690 and MitchMelnick.com
The Boston Bruins knew it would be a difficult chore to beat the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre, especially after arriving in Montreal between 3 and 4 AM (or as Tyler Seguin used to call it - Happy Hour). They also knew they'd likely have to get a strong performance from Tuukka Rask to stay in the game.
Montreal - October 17, 2014 - The Boston Bruins knew it would be a difficult chore to beat the Habs at the Bell Centre, especially after arriving in Montreal between 3 and 4 AM (or as Tyler Seguin used to call it - Happy Hour). They also knew they'd likely have to get a strong performance from Tuukka Rask to stay in the game. Kind of like what Jimmy Howard had provided the Red Wings in Detroit the night before. But once the Habs beat Rask it seemed inevitable they'd score a few more - even as Boston took a 3-2 lead. Because while Carey Price has started the season with some strange looking numbers (3.75 avg. .874 save pct) he lacks zero confidence against the Bruins. Rask, on the other hand, cannot beat Montreal - especially at the Bell Centre. So while Claude Julien kind of knew two points would be a stretch he was hoping his goaltender would perhaps be able to steal one and put his failures in Montreal in the rear view mirror. Instead what the Bruins got was a continuation of their playoff loss last spring: poor goaltending, a stationary looking blue line (Dennis Seidenberg was especially bad) and dumb penalties by the usual suspects. And an emotional breakdown involving a hand and a shake but no line.
•Brendan Gallagher. Man on a mission. Motor never stops. If last night is an indication his ice time should be kept around the 15:00 mark (14:49). A joy to watch. There was a moment during the pre-game ceremony when a serious looking Gallagher held the torch at centre ice and you could almost see him as a 10 year grizzled vet.
•Max Pacioretty. Followed up on his post Tampa Bay comments ("We know what we're doing wrong") to help lead the charge and end the power play drought - by going hard to the net. Should have had another PP goal early in the third but missed a wide open net. Remember when some wondered if he'd ever fully recover from the Chara mess?
•David Desharnais. It was Desharnais's speed entering the zone that set up the Pacioretty marker. The mayor's favourite little centreman made Chara and Adam McQuaid look like so many of those guys with hard hats you see directing traffic on Montreal roads these days.
•P.A. Parenteau. Threatened offensively from his first shift of the night. You can see why he's been so successful scoring 5 on 5 as he manages to find the soft spots in the offensive zone. Led all players with five shots on goal. Important, I think, to establish himself on home ice in a hurry before the pressure mounts. Will meet his former team on a point per game pace. If you're still keeping score - Daniel Briere a year ago reached the five point mark in his 10th game.
•Alexei Emelin. If you were thinking that Emelin would have less of an opportunity to nail Milan Lucic because he has moved over to his natural left side - think again. With all eyes on Lucic (NHL Players Safety head Stephane Quintal was in the house) and Michel Therrien surprisingly making Dale Weise a healthy scratch (I'd be shocked if he didn't play against the speedy Avalanche) Emelin wasted no time letting the Bruins left winger know that he didn't give a borscht about what was said in that handshake line last spring. It was one of the best games I've seen Emelin play.
•Jiri Sekac. Wonderful moment when he scored his first NHL goal - especially in the stands as his father looked skywards with jubilation.
•Lars Eller & Rene Bourque. It was the Eller line that created momentum after the Bruins had taken a 1-0 lead on the Chara power play goal. The trio dominated down low on many of their shifts. And there was Bourque blocking a a heavy shot while killing a penalty - something, as Knuckles Nilan pointed out, you didn't see at this time a year ago.
•Andrei Markov. Ho hum.
•Faceoffs. You don't normally win too many f these battles against the Bruins but the Habs had the edge led by Tomas Plekanec (61%). Manny Malhotra and Eller won 58% of their draws.
•Michel Therrien. Once again Therrien made a a heavily scrutinized line up change - and it worked. Travis Moen - inserted in place of Weise - played a strong game. He hit people, created turnovers and even helped create a couple of strong scoring chances. Spotting Moen depending on the opposition made be the best way to utilize him at this point. It might also serve to show teams around the league that he still has value. Keeping Jarred Tinordi in the line up in place of Nathan Beaulieu also worked out. Apparently the Habs weren't too pleased with Beaulieu's matter-of-fact response to the pasting they took in Tampa Bay (merci Francois Gagnon). Tinordi was solid. And when Simon Gagne scored with less than six minutes to narrow the Habs lead to 5-4 Therrien didn't react defensively. In the first two shifts after the goal the Desharnais and Plekanec lines went to work to grab momentum back against the obviously fatigued Bruins.
•Pre-Game torch ceremony. Simple yet beautiful. Ken Dryden to Carey Price was a moment frozen in time.
•Doug Jarvis. Good to see the former NHL ironman and Dryden's teammate at ice level - next to Claude Julien behind the Bruins bench replacing departed assistant coach Geoff Ward.
•Tony Marinaro on the bleu carpet pre-game outside the Bell Centre. With Guy Lafleur and other Quebec celebrities. I can remember when he was Tony from Lasalle.
•Ginette Reno. Sounded even better than a year ago.
•P.K. Subban's first game with an 'A' on his jersey.
•Habs surrendered another power play goal to fall behind. It's difficult for anybody to move 6'9' Zdeno Chara away from the net so when you get possession you have to get rid of it. Brandon Prust had the puck on his stick following a Carey Price rebound but coughed it up at the point to David Krecji.
•The idiot who thought it would be cool to point a laser at Tuukka Rask. Presumably Habs security found the culprit but not until the first two periods were played. Taser him.
•Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.
Watch his right hand. He does seem to be obsessed with that part of the body.
Mitch Melnick is the host of Melnick in the Afternoon on TSN 690 - Montreal's Sports Authority. Mitch also has his own website at MitchMelnick.com where you can find his blog, music links, upcoming events, neat photos and more. Listen Live to Melnick - weekdays from 3:00 - 7:00 pm. If you have questions or wish to contact Mitch, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org